Whether this is a new album or the other Side of what was supposed to be his previous album is the question. It’s presented as the latter; Eminem albums don’t begin with random “love” songs; but it’s actually more of the former. Unless you include Infinite and unless I’m stretching it too far to consider the existence of Kamikaze a response to the negative reviews of Revival, which isn’t bad to me, there is no Eminem album that doesn’t conceptually connect with another.
While he should’ve upped its sixteen tracks to twenty to even it out, this Side B; a nostaglic reference to cassette tapes from the 1980s and 1990s; is aesthetically on par with side A. That means more so-so songs with verbose verses. Eminem’s quick-paced expert-level rhymes, laced with some clever but several corny similes and metaphors, are a real chore to listen to these days, though one of the album’s best songs; Alfred’s Theme; forgos a chorus. Killer is another minor standout.
Framed was a quirky Relapse, but Eminem hasn’t tapped into the “old Shady”; the one whose skills I’d put against any rapper alive or dead; for a whole song since Underground. He came damn close on that pleasantly surprising Shady XV introduction, but he’s too scared, or too politically democratic, to even call people “faggots” now for fear of being “canceled” despite bravadic claims of the contrary. He actually puts a disclaimer after a line about Migos and apologizes to Rihanna.
It’s good to hear Dre rapping again though. He also helps make a couple of these beats. Rhapsodic music fits the theme of Discombobulated, but the song should’ve kept his initial production. I would’ve also liked to hear Eminem on a beat from DJ Premier; speaking of hip-hop legends; who does provide a funky-fresh scratch epilogue to Book Of Rhymes. The rapper has a lot of those, but it seems he’s long forgotten that it takes more than rhyming words to make a good rap album.
my rating : 3 of 5